Firm Development

First period

In 1996 when Washida & Associates was established, we filed only a handful of applications. It was spring in 1997 that the situation changed and we filed a great number of patent applications in next-generation cellular phone related areas. This period was the time when cellular phones rapidly gained widespread use, and domestic and foreign manufacturers competed to obtain patents related to next-generation cellar phones. Our office instantly became very busy.

CDMA in cellular phones just started being developed. All attorneys of W&A researched enthusiastically the unknown technical area by holding meetings with developers, attending conferences and seminars, and hiring mobile communication professionals. This thorough research and understanding approach is one of our important policies even today. We studied and worked diligently in order to meet our client’s needs. As a result, we gained our clients’ trust, and we worked hard to meet other client’s needs. We implement the same process with our clients even today.

Second period

"The Declaration of Intellectual Property Nation" by the Japanese government in 2002 recognized the importance of intellectual property and sought to make it better. As a result a lot of talented people flowed into the patent business. The number of patent attorneys increased and patent businesses began prospering. Meanwhile, business competition among corporations intensified. In these competitive years, we expanded our services to international filings and to other areas of intellectual property. Even during this expansion we never neglected the basics in the practice of patent law including writing specifications with comprehensive descriptions of our client’s inventions and constructing claims that are not only valuable to our clients and but also further support the client’s decision to proceed with patent protection for the invention.

At times we have faced difficult situations since our founding but we have been able to overcome these difficulties diligently making good use of the opportunities presented to us through cooperation with our clients.

Third period

2As Japanese electric manufacturers suffered a slump due to the financial crisis in October 2008 and the emergence of manufacturers in China, South Korea and Taiwan, their intellectual property departments slashed the number of patent applications they filed and restructured their intellectual property organizations by shifting to in-house patent prosecution or downsizing. Japanese electric manufacturers also changed their emphasis on patents from filing a large number of patent applications to filing fewer high quality patent applications. Accordingly, the number of Japanese patent applications filed in the Japan Patent Office decreased to 25% of the number of Japanese patent applications filed a decade ago. On the other hand, the number of foreign patent applications by Japanese companies has tended to increase over the same time period due to more Japanese companies developing international businesses.

In order to meet the demands of our clients in the new environment we integrated our offices to form one office in Shinjuku, Tokyo. We also hired a U.S. patent attorney to support Japanese companies who desired to expand their activities abroad.

The number of our professionals and staff was gradually increased and reached to 70 professional as it is now. We have more new clients and we are capable of accepting cases in almost all technical fields. Services that we provided our clients are not only filing and prosecuting patent applications, but also large-scale patent search projects, opinions, negotiations and assisting intellectual property departments.

For better foreign patent prosecution for our clients, we have established a structure that enables foreign filing and prosecution with less cost by adopting an efficient workflow to avoid redundant work between our office and the foreign agent under special agreements with the foreign agent. We also strengthened our services in countries where clients are interested in filing applications. Our U.S. office in Alexandria, Virginia was integrated to an existing US firm, Brundidge & Stanger, P.C. which has a reputation of obtaining high quality patents. Through this integration with Brundidge & Stanger, P.C. we are able to offer a cost effective and efficient workflow in all areas of U.S. intellectual property law to our clients. We also made cooperative agreements with various offices in Southeast Asia. We will continue to expand the Washida Global Network to assist our clients in their global intellectual property needs.